Friday, December 14, 2007

Merry Méliès

I've long been a fan of the film sof Georges Méliès, but he has figured unusually prominent in my psyche this year. Perhaps all the dreamy swirls of Gaudi in Barcelona from a century earlier and the Centennial of such Méliès classics as The Dream of the Opium Eater, The Eclipse and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea have added to it. Like other cinematic pioneers from Griffith to Welles, he spent the last decades of his life in obscurity and near squalor.

Thus Brian Selnick's "children's" book The Invention of Hugo Cabret is proving to be a perfect holiday season read. Its 500+ pages are made up of nearly 300 pages of illustrations, yet it is less a graphic novel or Harry Potteresque fantasy as it is a more lyrical Doctrow treatment of history and redemption of an overlooked artist.

Fittingly, I added another volume of Méliès films to my library this week yet have yet to come across a print of the The Dream of the Opium Eater which has long intrigued me. The San Francisco Silent Film festival featured a number of his century old works this summer, yet they have yet to share this one. There is always hope.

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At 10:43 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Hey, thanks! I am going to buy this book for my 12-year-old bookworm of a nephew.
I must read it first. :)

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Jill - I'd strongly recommend it for kids and adults. It's a perfect mix of film history, adventures of an orphan, fantasy, intrigue and redemption of a forgotten genius. Sweet, touching, magical, and full of gorgeous illustrations and vintage photos from Melies' films. It actually put me in the "holiday spirit".


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